Harcourts Taupō Good Sort is Stacy Lewis of Animal Care Tūrangi

Harcourts Taupō Good Sort for August 2022, Stacy Lewis of Animal Care Tūrangi, holding two kittens available for adoption.

Few people can say they find orphans on their doorstep when they arrive at work.

Then again, few people would spend countless hours each week caring for homeless dogs and cats. Meet this month’s Harcourts Taupō Good Sort, Stacy Lewis of Animal Care Tūrangi.

She is happy because she and her team of 12 volunteers managed to relocate 34 of the 64 dogs that arrived in May.

“May has been a huge month, we can breathe now,” Stacy says.

Animal Care Tūrangi takes in stray, abandoned, sick, injured, lost or deceased dogs and cats.

Mayor David Trewavas, Good Sort Stacy Lewis (center) of Animal Care Tūrangi and Mary-Louise Johns of Harcourts Taupō.  Photo/Rachel Canning
Mayor David Trewavas, Good Sort Stacy Lewis (center) of Animal Care Tūrangi and Mary-Louise Johns of Harcourts Taupō. Photo/Rachel Canning

Taupō Mayor David Trewavas was on hand to present Stacy with flowers from Bloomin Flowers and a candy box from The Merchant. He says that without Stacy and her team, there would be many more homeless dogs and cats in Tūrangi.

“We appreciate you because you’re the one doing the work when no one is looking,” David says.

Harcourts co-owner Mary-Louise Johns said without Animal Care Tūrangi there would be many more wild dogs roaming around.

A big part of Stacy’s job is feeding photos and stories on social media, with the @AnimalCareTurangi Facebook page having 4,600 followers and people coming from all over the North Island to pick up their new pet. She says photos are important because they are often the trigger for a prospective adopter.

“We brought in someone from Auckland because he liked a picture of a kitten on Facebook.”

They often have regular customers, people coming for a second dog when their original dog is about 2 years old.

Each year, the association welcomes 200 kittens and 50 cats. Last year they took in 100 puppies and that doesn’t include the dogs.

Adoption statistics for the year so far for Animal Care Tūrangi.  Photo / Provided
Adoption statistics for the year so far for Animal Care Tūrangi. Photo / Provided

All animals entering Animal Care Tūrangi are vaccinated and sexing is a condition of adoption. The Pelorus Trust provides funding for assexation of adopted pets, and PAWS Pet Welfare helps fund community cardholders to pay for assexation when the new animal comes from Animal Care Tūrangi.

Stacy says that Tūrangi VetEnt offers them a huge discount for vaccinations and their animal health bill.

Of course, all dogs are vaccinated against parvo (canine parvovirus).

“Recently someone left a puppy on the doorstep and the next day he tested positive for parvo. We had to put him down.”

Stacy says it’s common for puppies and kittens to be dumped outside Animal Care Tūrangi.

“I arrive at work and often find the new orphan of the day.”

Over the past year, Stacy and her team have returned eight cats to their owners.

“Last week we returned a cat to its Wellington-based owner after it was lost for four months. People go on vacation with their cat, stop for a comforting break and the cat jumps.”

The large number of dogs that were abandoned earlier in the year means that Animal Care Tūrangi can only now remove dogs from the pound and will redirect people who come to them with unwanted dogs or puppies.

She says they had to rethink the way they do things so that in the future they are not overwhelmed by too many dogs.

“So now we work exclusively with the Taupō District Council pound. We won’t take puppies from people, they can go to the pound.

“I’m going to repatriate the kittens, but they have to get a voucher from me to de-sex the cat.”

Dogs and puppies that end up at Animal Care Tūrangi now have a new fenced outdoor area to run and play, funded by the council through the Tūrangi-Tongariro Community Board.

She says the outdoor space is already a hit with its residents.

“The dogs love it, they come out and run around, sniff around in the dirt, dig and pick up sticks. It’s awesome and I’m super grateful.”

Stacy says they have fantastic support from the Tūrangi community. Volunteers come daily to clean the cages and feed the animals, and the committee members are active business owners who care about the Tūrangi community.

Stacy says that working at Animal Care Tūrangi is supposed to be a “retirement” job. She is originally from Los Angeles and moved to Motuoapa with her New Zealand-born husband John Lewis 20 years ago.

“My long-suffering husband supports cats and kittens at home, and dogs in cages.”

The couple have their own pet dog, but Stacy says John walks the whole dog.

The details

Supporting Tūrangi Animal Care

Donate online: search for the handle @AnimalCareTurangi and press the “donate” button on Facebook or the donate button on www.GiveALittle.co.nz

Become a regular donor or volunteer: email Stacy Lewis at [email protected]

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Boyd S. Abbott